Deciding Vote Opens Season with $100,000 Dahlia Victory

April 23, 2022

5-Year-Old Mare Edges Favored In a Hurry in Mile Turf Stakes

LAUREL, MD – William Pape’s homebred Deciding Vote, making her stakes debut, reeled in favored front-runner In a Hurry in mid-stretch and surged past in the final eighth of a mile to capture Saturday’s $100,000 Dahlia at Laurel Park.

The 20th running of the one-mile Dahlia for fillies and mares 3 and up was the third of five $100,000 stakes on the second of consecutive Spring Stakes Spectacular Saturdays, and one of the first three scheduled for Laurel’s world-class turf course, preceded by the King T. Leatherbury sprinting 5 ½ furlongs and followed by the one-mile Henry S. Clark.

Both the Dahlia and Clark are part of the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championship (MATCH) Series that launched its 2022 season April 16 at Laurel.

Racing for the first time since winning a 1 1/16-mile optional claimer last October at Laurel, Deciding Vote ($12) gave jockey Angel Suarez his second win on his first day back in Maryland after spending the winter riding at Fair Grounds.

“This was just my second horse of the day,” Suarez said. “I’m really glad to be back home.”

Winning trainer Eddie Graham praised Suarez’s ride, where he was unhurried on Deciding Vote racing in eighth while saving ground as Dontletsweetfoolya, a multiple stakes winner on dirt making her stakes debut, and Traffic Song battled through splits of 23.14 and 47 seconds.

“The trip set up perfect for her with all the speed like that. I was happy where she was in the first turn and then Angel on the outside not getting in trouble that was smart,” Graham said. “She had a great trip. Angel gave her a great ride.”

Grade 3-placed In a Hurry, the 3-5 favorite trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, tracked in fourth through four furlongs before launching her bid under jockey Forest Boyce entering the far turn. Suarez followed on Deciding Vote, keeping the 5-year-old mare in the clear on the far outside.

“The only thing I was a little worried about was post position on the far outside, because I knew there was going to be some speed. I wanted to get going as quick as possible and try to be behind some of the horses to beat in the race,” Suarez said. “Once I was able to find [In a Hurry] in the race I said, ‘I’m sitting in a perfect trip here.’ I just had to pretty much stay out of trouble. I decided to go after [In a Hurry] and follow her all the way around, and my horse was there for me. Once I turned for home, she was all business. I had a lot of horse.”

Deciding Vote came with a steady run through the lane to get on even terms with In a Hurry, who had forged a short lead in mid-stretch, before going on to win by a half-length in 1:37.43 over a firm Dahlia turf course. In a Hurry stayed up for second, 1 ½ lengths ahead of 19-1 long shot Coconut Cake.

It was three-quarters of a length back to 45-1 long shot Fionnbharr in fourth, followed by Out of Sorts, Double Fireball, Foggy Dreams, Mucha Mezquina, Tic Tic Tic Boom, Traffic Song and Dontletsweetfoolya. Adelaide Miss was scratched.

Deciding Vote, by Mr Speaker, earned her fourth career win from 12 starts. She primarily trains at Graham’s farm in Pennsylvania and has her timed works at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md.

“I thought she was doing great. I was a little worried about the mile and if the speed would come back, but it ended up working out perfect,” Graham said. “Mr. Pape and Mrs. Pape always tell me to take my time. There’s never any pressure, so it works out good for me. I turned my horses out during the winter. They’re always fresh and I get no pressure. They let me place the horses right.”

Live racing returns to Laurel Park with an eight-race program Sunday starting at 12:40 p.m. The feature comes in Race 7, an entry-level allowance for fillies and mares 3 and up that drew an overflow field of 15 for one mile on the Dahlia turf course. Peter E. Blum’s homebred Get Serious, a last-out maiden winner March 12 at Tampa Bay Downs, is the 3-1 program favorite.

Laurel Park Press Release

Photo: Deciding Vote (Laurel Park Photo)

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